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Moral Dilemma

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
This is I guess you would call a "friend of a friend" type situation. I recently encountered a woman who has 11 cats. It's a lot of cats, and everyone of them is kept inside due to what she says "coyotes" and things of that nature. She lives rather close to me, and I have never seen a coyote, so I can't say whether there are some or not.

To my dilemma, the house is... horrible. There is this horrible stench that just plagues this house. Almost like something may have passed away that they don't care about or are unaware of. Aside from that, it smells like a HUGE litterbox that hasn't been cleaned in years. Of these 11 cats, 2 of them appear to have some type of... neurological disorder (for lack of better understanding). One has NO use of it's back legs, and the other has this abnormal walk to it. None of them are fixed, and there is a ton on inbreeding going on, and as I have read on TCS, this can cause a ton of health and genetic problems. The issue is also that all of the cats are given attention and affection, they appeared to be loved, and are well fed, and things of that nature. Now, with 11 adult cats, chances if I acted in the way I feel I should, if they are taken from the home and placed in a shelter, chances are most of them will not find homes. Yet, at the same time, aside from the condition of the home, these animals seem "taken care of". I say that due to the fact they are given attention and are not neglected, but none of them have shots, and no desexing has occured, so I feel like I am stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Any advice? Should I keep my mouth shut for? It's hard to walk away from it. All of them are just gorgeous and it just breaks my heart to feel like no matter which way I go with this, it's bad either way.
post #2 of 14
As much as I hate to jump the gun on things, your friend sounds like she is bordering on being a hoarder/collector. The big sign is the fact that they are not speutered and are inbreeding, a second is that they appear to not be receiving vet care and the last sign is the state of her house. People who have obsessive compulsive disorders and love animals sometimes just fall into this trap by taking in the cats that they feel no one else will love (her disabled ones) and not having the resource (money) to really take care of them.

I would try to find some low cost spay/neuter clinics or no-kill rescue groups in your area. Find out all you can from them and see if they can reach out to this person, or try to educate her yourself on the dangers of not providing adequate health care or speuters. People in this situation rarely want a lecture, but sometimes will respond to education. She has to understand that she is fundamentally hurting these cats by allowing them to interbreed.

To find some groups in your area, do a search on your zip code in www.petfinder.com. Look for the smaller rescue groups and call them to see what they are about. Most will have links that will give you more information about them. Remember that you can call them and talk to them without giving out information about your friend if you aren't comfortable with that. Hopefully you will find a group to work with you on this. A trained professional in this area may be able to get thru to your friend when you can't.

Good luck!
post #3 of 14
You do have to do something, as one unspayed female can produce 20,000 offspring in 5 years, so if the situation isnt dealt with, the situation will get worse. Keeping all these cats as indoor only is probably a good thing, as it will stop some of the breeding issues, but instead causes inbreeding, so the more it happens the more disabled kittens are going to be born.

She may give them love and food, but if the basic medical care isnt sorted, then it isnt good enough unfortunately. If she isnt taking them for things like that, what are the chances of them being de-flead and wormed?

It is a hard situation to be in though, as there is a possibility some of these kitties wont survive, but the earlier someone steps in the more chance they have.
post #4 of 14
The Rescue that I got Bakker from I was concerned too. She had about 20 cats, a few dogs and birds. The house was not very clean and I too was appalled at the stench of the five (yes 5) litter boxes that were FULL!!
I always say I rescued Bakker.
I would agree with the others that this person could have the hoarding tendencies.
While she must "love" the cats, does she really without spaying/neutering and no shots??
If I was in your shoes I would take that next step and either contact a rescue or local animal shelter to get these cats the care that they really need and perhaps the owner could receive some care also.

Good luck.
post #5 of 14
I would report her in a minute. I wouldn't even hesitate. She needs help and you can call and leave a tip and ask that your name be taken off the record.
post #6 of 14
I think that I would report her too For her sake and the cats sakes.
post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
You're all right that I need to do what my original gut told me to do. However, I've never been in this situation before, so I have no clue what actions to take, or who I need to contact, so I am hoping someone can point me in the right direction.

Also, I will say/ask if I am doing the right thing in term's of at least one of the cat's. She's a kitten that I would approximate to be about 10-12 weeks old I am guessing. I only saw her briefly and she appears to be a diulte calico I think? She's gray and this buff creme color, and she told me if I wanted her I could have her, so before I contacted who I needed to contact, I was going to at least get her and find a home for her somehow and someway. I know enough people that someone can offer her a good home, or maybe someone on the board's local to me will help her out, or offer her at least as a foster home. I feel awful for this, but it's that she's so young as it is, and I have a better chance of not having my head ripped off for bringing another cat in here. I can't save them all, but maybe one will help. My vet also keeps animals for adoption, and I was just thinking about bringing her to them, and letting them take care of her because then she will get all her shots and testing and hopefully will find her forever home. I just realized how long a rant this was, but I guess I am just trying to rationalize and convince myself that I shouldn't feel guilty about not being able to save all of them.

So back to the original question, who do I need to contact, and what excatly do I need to do? I need a little bit of mentoring here.
post #8 of 14
Before you jump into the fray, can you at least try to talk to her and get her to admit there is a problem? Perhaps if you go to her and tell her you would like to speak to her "friend and cat lover to friend and cat lover", she would be more receptive ... I just think that calling the authorities or a local shelter/rescue would hurt this woman more than it would help. Of course, the cats and their needs must come first but - I just don't know.

What I would do:

Talk to her candidly about this issue.
Offer her a printed list of low- or no-cost spay/neuter and vaccination clinics in your area (can be found here: http://www.lovethatcat.com/spayneuter.html)
Offer to get together a group of other mutual friends you can trust to help you and her get the house cleaned up
Contact a local no-kill shelter and offer to temporarily foster as many of the cats as you can and then offer to help find other fosters for them (from the group of trusted friends that help to clean the house, maybe???)

She obviously loves these cats even if it doesn't appear so due to the fact they are not vetted. Just because someone doesn't vet an animal doesn't necessarily mean they don't love the animal ... it may just mean they can't afford to vet properly. I agree that if someone cannot afford to vet properly, then one shouldn't have so many, but the fact remains that this woman needs help and I am just not certain the authorities are the appropriate people to provide it. Loving, caring friends who don't judge or place horrendous, misleading or even downright untrue articles in the local newspaper are the best avenue here ... hopefully, you will try this first.

Just my thoughts (from someone who has been "reported" and found NOT to be in any way less than providing the utmost of care for my animals - it was a venge thing in my case but the feelings it generated were awful ... total lack of trust for anyone, even close, long-time friends and family)
post #9 of 14
post #10 of 14
I think Gayef makes a good point. If you can help link this woman with resources to provide the much needed vet care, it would be such a big help. But if nothing changes, she should be reported.

A local agency in my county recently took 26 cats from a home, but did leave the original owner with 3 cats. They worked on rehoming the remaining cats. Sometimes a no-kill agency can help a person like her.

It is sad both for her and the cats. The fact that they are all friendly is a very good sign. I hope you are able to help!

P.S. Eleven cats that are speutered can be managed. I have a "friend of a friend" with about 80 cats-and they are all vetted, speutered, and the house does not stink! This is an extreme case, and she is a very devoted rescuer, but if your friend gets the boys neutered to start with she may find she can manage!
post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by gayef
Before you jump into the fray, can you at least try to talk to her and get her to admit there is a problem? Perhaps if you go to her and tell her you would like to speak to her "friend and cat lover to friend and cat lover", she would be more receptive ... I just think that calling the authorities or a local shelter/rescue would hurt this woman more than it would help. Of course, the cats and their needs must come first but - I just don't know.

What I would do:

Talk to her candidly about this issue.
Offer her a printed list of low- or no-cost spay/neuter and vaccination clinics in your area (can be found here: http://www.lovethatcat.com/spayneuter.html)
Offer to get together a group of other mutual friends you can trust to help you and her get the house cleaned up
Contact a local no-kill shelter and offer to temporarily foster as many of the cats as you can and then offer to help find other fosters for them (from the group of trusted friends that help to clean the house, maybe???)

She obviously loves these cats even if it doesn't appear so due to the fact they are not vetted. Just because someone doesn't vet an animal doesn't necessarily mean they don't love the animal ... it may just mean they can't afford to vet properly. I agree that if someone cannot afford to vet properly, then one shouldn't have so many, but the fact remains that this woman needs help and I am just not certain the authorities are the appropriate people to provide it. Loving, caring friends who don't judge or place horrendous, misleading or even downright untrue articles in the local newspaper are the best avenue here ... hopefully, you will try this first.

Just my thoughts (from someone who has been "reported" and found NOT to be in any way less than providing the utmost of care for my animals - it was a venge thing in my case but the feelings it generated were awful ... total lack of trust for anyone, even close, long-time friends and family)
I have to agree with this. I kept thinking about this for the last 30 mintues and I came to the conclusion that I would try and talk to her first and provide her with some info before reporting her. My parents were reported 6 years ago when their first dog got hit by a car on our driveway! Some maniac drove up on our driveway and somehow hit the dog on the leash, (which was not the reason for the report), so the dog couldn't walk for a while, half of her body was shaved when they did the tests and what not, and some neighbour reported my parents. Nothing happened since my mother had all the vet bills which came to a total of 4k, but it didn't feel good at all. I know that this cat situation is different, but maybe talking to her first would be a better idea.

Also if she has 11 cats and none are spayed/neutered wouldn't there be more kittens? Just a thought...because I would think that there would be, just knowing that the farm I worked on had 3 adult cats, and there were tons of kittens, and when the females got bigger they would have even more kittens at a very young age, so if she has 11 they should multiply quite quickly I would think. I also have to ask you, have you been in her house? or just met her and seen some of her cats? Has she told you personally that they don't have their shots or you heard it from someone? Because sometimes people talk about others for one reason or another, and say things that they have absolutely no way of knowing for sure, they just assume.
If you have been in her house and it's clean, then again maybe the smell shouldn't be a concern either because depending on the size of the house, wiht 11 cats there will be some smell, and she is most likely used to it, but those who aren't notice it right away. It's like people who have no animals at all, they can smell the one that I have as soon as they walk in.

This got to be a bit long I am sorry about that, just some thoughts Of course it's hard to judge this whole situation over the internet. I would try and talk to her first though.
post #12 of 14
I have read this 4 or 5 times before deciding what to say. I have been in your shoes. I spoke with the person and it did not do any good.
This person loved the animals just too many to take proper care of. I waited too long the problem got worse way worse.
Please do not make the same mistake I did, speak to her and try to help her. If it does not work turn her in. I myself did not know who or where to call. So I contacted the police who pointed me in the right direction.
Good Luck!
post #13 of 14
Are there zoning regulations about maximum number of pets allowed in a residential dwelling? Does she let the cats outside and are there ordinances about unattended pets roaming the neighborhood? Is she selling any of these kittens -- if so, are there any local laws about someone needing a breeder's license if selling more than a certain number of cats per year? Etc.

As for moral dilemmas, let's all just take care of our own business unless people are breaking the law. Considering how people tend to "sanitize" their daily reality to make themselves sound better-safer-wiser when posting to the internet, I strongly suspect 10%+ of the hardcore posters at TCS are in far worse condition than this lady.
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nano
Are there zoning regulations about maximum number of pets allowed in a residential dwelling? Does she let the cats outside and are there ordinances about unattended pets roaming the neighborhood? Is she selling any of these kittens -- if so, are there any local laws about someone needing a breeder's license if selling more than a certain number of cats per year? Etc.

As for moral dilemmas, let's all just take care of our own business unless people are breaking the law. Considering how people tend to "sanitize" their daily reality to make themselves sound better-safer-wiser when posting to the internet, I strongly suspect 10%+ of the hardcore posters at TCS are in far worse condition than this lady.
The worst part of it-they are all unspayed and unneutered. She has 11 now. In a year, she will have a 100. Something has got to be done. I would really, really, really try to encourage her to spay and neuter these cats. And acually, I don't think we have to wait for laws to be broken to decide to take action.
Because it's very clear what will happen if this woman doesn't spay and neuter her 11 cats. Today it's 11. Tomorrow it will be 1111. By then, might be to late to do anything for the cats.
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